20 years ago we lost arguably the greatest driver of them all. R.I.P. Ayrton. #RememberSenna pic.twitter.com/2PvxrUfhmN
— F1 Porn (@F1Porn) May 1, 2014
Senna was definitely one of the greats, but the greatest? I don't know if we can say that. That Senna deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Schumacher and Fangio is a given, but frankly the name Prost deserves the same respect and Prost was one of Senna's contemporaries. One might even argue that Senna rose in a period of great opportunity, with Prost as his principle foil but Mansell and Piquet, although not in the same league, had the talent and equipment to make the competition of the time mighty.
Had Senna continued on with Williams or Ferrari, who knows how many of Schumacher's championships would be held by Senna instead? Had Senna gone to Ferrari, would he have been able to turn the team around sooner? Would Schumacher have even gone to Ferrari? If Schumacher stays at Benetton, where would Alonso have bloomed? So many dominos could have fallen differently had that day not happened that way 20 years ago.
I've often thought that Schumacher's record of greatness is principally because of his competition's lower caliber. There just wasn't another talent capable of taking the fight to Schumacher as Senna could have.
Senna might have been over his peak, but the sad thing is we will never know for sure.